New Report outlines “Clean Fuels Policy for the Midwest”

Source: By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest • Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2020

In Minnesota, a new report details the unique considerations needed to design a successful Clean Fuels Policy for the Midwest. Created by Midwesterners for the Midwest, the report recommends a technology-neutral, portfolio approach that encourages a fair and competitive marketplace and benefits producers, consumers, agriculture, utilities, jobs, and public health.

The Clean Fuels Policy for the Midwest white paper is the result of nearly two years of analysis and stakeholder discussion by the Midwestern Clean Fuels Initiative. Facilitated by the Great Plains Institute, the Initiative brings together fuels producers and marketers, nonprofit and research organizations, scientists and engineers, and agriculture and industry stakeholders. The Initiative’s consensus white paper illustrates broad support for a policy by diverse interests across the region. The paper is intended to inform further discussion of new and existing clean fuels policies and how they could be tailored to benefit the Midwest.

A Clean Fuels Policy evaluates all fuels based on lifecycle carbon accounting and assigns each fuel production method a unique carbon intensity (CI) score that is a complete “well-to-wheels” carbon equivalent emissions. For example, a CI score for gasoline or diesel includes emissions from crude oil extraction, transportation, refining, and combustion in a vehicle. A CI score for biofuel includes emissions from farming, biofuel production, transport, and combustion in a vehicle. A CI score for electricity includes emissions from production of electricity (including all relevant upstream emissions), sources of electricity, and the efficiency of electric vehicles.

“A comprehensive Clean Fuels Policy is critical to solving the region’s most significant emissions challenge,” said Brendan Jordan, vice president of Transportation and Fuels at the Great Plains Institute. “This portfolio approach brings together a number of solutions from cleaner electricity to charge electric vehicles to bolstering the region’s rich agricultural resources while simultaneously lowering the carbon intensity of biofuels. Clean fuels represent a huge opportunity for the region to create an environmentally and economically sustainable future.”

“Clean transportation means using less oil and transitioning to cleaner fuels, including low carbon biofuels and electricity,” said Jeremy Martin, director of Fuels Policy and Senior Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a member of the Midwestern Clean Fuels Policy Initiative. “Clean fuels policies promote the use of low-carbon biofuels and electricity and support increased deployment of electric vehicles from passenger cars to transit buses. A Midwestern approach to Clean Fuels Policy should also reward biofuel producers that reduce emissions, support farmers who adopt more sustainable practices, and encourage operators of electric vehicles to charge them with renewable power.”